I've been trying to work out how to respond to recent events in the world and closer to home. I feel I should respond instead of simply being scared, which is how I felt last night. These are my thoughts...
I watched the news last night as MPs voted on Syrian air strikes and, like many people, I felt utterly devastated. Devastated that, once again, violence has been chosen to meet violence; fighting a war we haven't asked for for an unknown length of time with an unknown likelihood of victory. Whatever your views on the legality and rightful place of war against terrorism, it's difficult to watch events unfolding in the news with a great deal of optimism.
The overwhelming feeling I encountered following reactions I saw across social media was powerlessness. We have no power over organisations or individuals who walk into our workplaces, cities, neighbourhoods or social settings intent on taking lives. We have no power over our governments' responses - and certainly, it would seem, no power of influence over their actions. In a world so seemingly full of frightening things beyond our control, what can we do to make any kind of difference?
This is the conclusion I've come to: I am going to pursue HOPE, JOY and LOVE.
I can't change what happened in Paris, or Garissa, or anywhere else terrorists have targeted. But in my life, and in my actions that affect other people's lives, I can do something. I can pursue hope, joy and love. These are the things terrorists seek to target and destroy with fear. But the only way I can not allow them to win is to actively go after all the things they don't want me to have. So I intend to encourage and help people, celebrate life, choose positive words over negative, choose to be optimistic and most of all, do everything I can to not be scared of what might happen in this uncertain world.
It's a tiny personal stand from one life among a countless many. But I think it's the only way I'll feel I'm doing something to fight back in situations where I feel powerless. Peace lies in finding joy in terrifying times. I'd rather be doing something than just being scared. That's all.